Subject to Inquiry

THE LATEST ON GOVERNMENT INQUIRIES AND ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

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On April 15, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities (the “Bureau”) issued a rule proposal to establish a uniform fiduciary duty standard applicable to investment advisers, brokers-dealers and their registered representatives and agents.  Specifically, the proposed rule (N.J.A.C. 13:47A-6.4), which could take effect as early as the end of the year, will require all investment professionals registered with the Bureau to provide investment advice, recommend investment strategies, open or transfer assets to any type of…
As recognized by new guidance from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the departure of a registered representative often prompts customer questions about the departing representative and the continued servicing of a customer’s account. In light of the continued frequency of movement of registered representatives from, or among, member firms, FINRA issued guidance on April 5, 2019, regarding what information it expects member firms to communicate to customers upon the departure of a registered representative.…
On March 12, 2019, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts announced federal criminal charges in “Operation Varsity Blues,” the largest college admissions case ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice. Fifty people have been charged for their involvement in what prosecutors describe as a nationwide conspiracy to get the children of wealthy parents into elite colleges around the country. As alleged, wealthy parents paid tens of thousands of dollars to facilitate…
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on March 1, 2019, an extension of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for qualifying individuals from El Salvador, Haiti, Sudan, and Nicaragua. DHS also announced a nine-month automatic extension of these TPS beneficiaries’ Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), allowing beneficiaries to work in the United States until January 2, 2020. The Department took this action to ensure its continued compliance with the preliminary injunction order of the U.S. District…
When the Trump Administration designated Venezuelan state-owned oil producer Petreoleos de Venezuela (“PdVSA”) on January 28, 2019, pursuant to preexisting sanctions relating to the political situation created by the Maduro regime, it sent a significant but not unanticipated ripple through the global petroleum markets.  The impact of the sanctions for commodities traders and petroleum refiners—particularly in the U.S. Gulf Coast, where PdVSA’s steady supply of heavy crude has long been a sizable staple feedstock—was fairly…
Following recent changes to Department of Justice policy regarding individual accountability in government investigations of corporate wrongdoing, DOJ has recently further demonstrated its willingness to consider a flexible approach in applying the False Claims Act. In a January 28, 2019 speech by Deputy Associate Attorney General Stephen Cox to the 2019 Advanced Forum on False Claims and Qui Tam Enforcement, DOJ reaffirmed its commitment to applying the so-called Granston Memo, which sets forth the…
On Dec. 17, 2018, President Trump signed the Small Business Runway Extension Act of 2018 into law. It amends § 3(a)(2)(C)(i)(II) of the Small Business Act “by striking ‘3 years’ and inserting ‘5 years,’” so a contractor’s size will be measured by the annual average of its previous five years’ revenue, instead of the annual average of its previous three years’ revenue. Notably, the amendment does not alter employee-based size standards, or the definition of…
It was never a question of if, but rather, when the Securities and Exchange Commission would launch its first charges against robo-advisors and what those charges would be. Following then-SEC Chairperson, Mary Jo White’s keynote address at the SEC-Rock Center on Corporate Governance in 2016, regulators have been carefully monitoring robo-advisors’ compliance with the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”).[1] In two recent Orders, the SEC found Wealthfront Advisers made false statements about…
This article was originally posted on our sister publication, Password Protected. On December 20, 2018, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) released a report on cybersecurity practices for broker-dealers. Today’s post is the second in a series of summaries sharing essential, timely insight on how these practices impact your business. Please click here for the first post on cybersecurity practice impacts. FINRA names “phishing” attacks as one of the most common cybersecurity threats raised…
In the politically explosive atmosphere of Washington, the talk of the town is focused on congressional investigations: who will be called before Congress, and when. Newspaper headlines blare the latest controversy — from use of personal emails for government business, to numerous investigations alleging corruption of current and former government employees, including several cabinet secretaries, and the continuing developments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. But as the nation prepares for power in the…